Pyatho, Khwa Nyo, Gulie, Palee, Polo

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The painting depicts royal princes playing Gulie.

By Maha Saddhamma Jotika dhaja Sithu Dr Khin Maung Nyunt

The 9th month of Myanmar Luna Calendar of 12 months is called Pyatho corresponding to January. It is the peak of Myanmar cold season (winter), the season of Heiman. Pyatho literally means “Keep ash at home for you need it for warnth in that peak month of winter.
Khwa Nyo is a wild flower of a creeper with shoots of thick deep blue petals and yellow very fragrant sending out fragrance far and wide. Gulie, Palee and Polo are three different pronunciation and spelling of the equestrian game. History of this Gulie goes far back into history of Mongolia, Persia, China, Korea and Myanmar. It is a game which all princes of civil, military and diplomatic sources had to learn and master.
In the 37 Nats of Myanmar, Shwe Nawrahta Nat was an accomplished Gulie player. His paintings on statues have gulie rod and fulie ball.
Besides in the 37 music and dance styles of the Natkadaw (Nat medium) dancers, there is a the song and style of depicting Gulie play.
Pakhan U Min Kyaw was a good Gulee Game player where he became Nat Spirit he dance singing the following Gulee game song.
ညနေ၊ ညနေ
ကိုကြီးကျော် စံကွန်း
ကိုကြီးကျော် ဂူလီရိုက်တယ်
In the evening, Ko Gyi Kya’s house is alive with friends and drunkards Ko Gyi Kyaw plays Gulee or Polee in the field of Tobacco plantations.
Singing that song the nat medium possessed by Pakhan U Min Kyaw Nat spirit dance depicting riding horse and playing Gulie game with his handy guesture. In Taungmyo and Nyaungyan Periods of Myanmar history Natshin Naung of Toungoo, Tabinshwehti and Bayint Naung of Hamsavadi were accomplished Gulie players. Natshin Naung composed 37 Ratu verses extolling Gulie games.
When the British came to India and Myanmar, they introduced Polo game which gradually became golf-the game of diplomacy.
Whey and when Gulie or Palee game becaome Polo in UK we need research. The writer’s conjecture is that it was Marco Polo who brought to Europe China of Emperor Kublai Khan so it too his Sir name Polo.
Another interesting usage of the world Polo is that of the cigarettes this stylish cigarettes used the picture of a Polo player on its case. Instead of using the long name “Polo Player brand cigarettes, people just used short name Polo cigarettes. Then they dropped cigarettes and used to sing smoking polo. So Polo ceased to be game. It became smoking cigarettes.

Style to Polo cigarettes
It was the style of upper class men and women to keep Polo brand cigarette between the fingers and smoke or puff not inhaling but blow out to produce coils of smoke gracefully into the air.
Myanmar women do the same with cheeroot of maize leave between fingers and puff out coils of artistic smokes. Grand mother and grant aunts the writer used to do that.
Hollywood film actress of great renown Kim Novack was a stylish Polo smoker. So was Myanmar Film Actor Tin Tin Mu.
When Polo game evolved from equisetum game into pedalian game it developed into folg of our time. Golf players walk wide areas of land and aquatic places and talk of private, public, domestic and foreign affairs freely. So golf game becomes a game of diplomacy or golf diplomacy.
We have ping-pong diplomacy and golf diplomacy. Table tennis became Ping pong game.
After long years of diplomatic distance USA and Communist.

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